Updates as Dunedin club rugby finally kicks off

Dunedin club rugby finally gets underway today and ODT Rugby Chat is that excited we are providing live updates from the games as they happen.

Join us from this afternoon and Paul Dwyer will bring you halftime and full times scores and comment on what is happening live so you can stay in touch with your favourite team.

Paul will be at the Dunedin vs Taieri game and our other intrepid rugby reporters will updating him from the Harbour vs Southern, Varsity vs Alhambra-Union and Kaikorai v Green Island games.

Streamlined competition but it’s back

The longest pre-season in history will come to an eagerly awaited conclusion today.

Rugby is back. The real stuff. The mud. The rain. The driving wind. The thin band of tape which separates the frozen viewers from the partially thawed participants.

Premier rugby returns from its Covid-19 hiatus at last.

The tournament was meant to get under way in mid-March with a double round. What we are left with is a one-round competition and an extended playoffs series.

The playoffs need a little explaining. Following the opening round, the top six sides will play each other (1-6, 2-5 and 3-4).

The highest-ranked loser will join the three winners and also advance to the semifinals.

The bottom three teams will play each other. They are games no club will want to play but the organising committee felt it was important to offer as much rugby as it could given the length of the season has been slashed.

So who wins this year? Well, Kaikorai has been thrust into the spotlight by some of the more veteran observers as a team which looks good in theory.

Kaikorai will still be smarting from missing out on the playoffs last season. It is a well-resourced club with plenty of talent.

Its match against Cinderella club Green Island at Bishopscourt today will provide a solid indication of where each side is at.

Green Island has stated it will adapt its expansive game plan to suit the conditions this season. It shapes as the game of the round.

University has a new-look backline and those changes may take some time to settle. But it still has the core of a good pack and some impressive loose forwards.

It will host Alhambra-Union at Logan Park today. Alhambra-Union has a decent forward pack as well but it struggled to create opportunities out wide. That might not matter so much on the wet grounds.

The game at Kettle Park between Taieri and Dunedin will be informative as well. Taieri has a solid team which perhaps lacks some star power.

But it battled its way to the final last season, a characteristic it will lean on again this year.

Dunedin was disappointing in 2019 but has a new crop of players coming through which could help the club climb the standings.

Harbour had put together an impressive roster but Covid-19 meant it has lost three or four players. It still has some good depth and will be looking for a strong start against Southern at Watson Park.

Southern suffered a loss to Zingari-Richmond during the pre-season. It could be a long season for the men from Bathgate Park.

Zingari-Richmond has a bye this weekend. The short season may suit the Colours, who have traditionally struggled during the second round.

The premier games today get under way at the earlier time of 2.15pm.

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